2019 John Leonard Prize Finalists, Women Writers of Italy, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

The National Book Critics Circle has announced the finalists for the 2019 John Leonard Prize, which honors the best first book of the year. The list features authors Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Sarah M. Broom, Chia-Chia Lin, T Kira Madden, Julia Phillips, Jia Tolentino, and Bryan Washington. 

Earlier this year Washington answered Ten Questions from Poets & Writers Magazine

The New York Times reports on “the Ferrante effect”: In Italy, women writers are receiving more and more attention both at home and abroad. Many members of the literary community attribute this shift to the international success of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. 

“The feeling is, how dare a woman, the narrator or the author, take up so much of my time?” Lucy Ellmann discusses the critical reception of Ducks, Newburyport and shares how the project began. (Guardian)

In an interview at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Mimi Lok reflects on her fascination with memory, and discusses the various stories in her debut collection, Last of Her Name

Lok recently answered Ten Questions from Poets & Writers Magazine

Garrett Caples revisits the poetry of Samuel Greenberg, who is known as a “the dead, unknown poet Hart Crane plagiarized.” Caples makes the case that Greenberg deserves to be recognized in his own right.

Heather Christle talks turning both to the archive and to living writers in order to construct her debut work of nonfiction, The Crying Book. (Rumpus)

The Powell’s Books staff selects the best books of 2019. Their twenty-title list includes fiction in translation, story collections, novels, and one poetry collection. 

Electric Literature rounds up twenty highly anticipated debuts forthcoming in 2020.